The top 10 mistakes businesses make when hiring and how to solve them

Back in the day, businesses were able to place an ad in the local paper, interview a couple of people and offer the best one the job there and then.

How things have changed.

From metric and competency tests to multiple interview stages, personality assessments, social meetups – a combination of these is now the norm to secure a position; companies know that hiring is a serious business. As such, acquisition and retention of talent has become a costly activity in terms of time, resources and budget, with the Harvard Business Review reporting that as much as 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions. Despite this, mistakes are still being made that can have disastrous effects which ripple throughout an organisation and end up with hiring managers back where they started.

From experience, we know that these missteps are both easily identifiable and surmountable so to help those managing the hiring process, we’ve summarised the top 10 issues and how to address them:

1. Unwillingness to pay for what you need – Budget constraints no doubt play a part in who and when you hire, however there should always be some wiggle room factored in. Many businesses treat hiring as a ‘How cheap can we get X person for?’ challenge, but it can lead to hiring professionals with a sub-par skill set or losing talent who are unfairly remunerated and quickly look elsewhere. If the role is short-term this won’t matter so much, but if not, it will cost more in the long run when you have to train or re-hire in the near future. To avoid this, employ the best people you can find, even if you have to go over budget —because great people are an invaluable asset.

2. Failing to make roles flexible – With 70% of people reporting that a job offering flexible working is more attractive to them and 58% believing that working away from the office would make them more motivated, it’s a wonder that many companies don’t make it the normative framework. Failure to do offer roles on a flexible basis may mean missing out on the best candidates when the application process opens, so be less prescriptive about standard working hours and location because professionals expect more.

3. Matching people on skills or culture – Hiring a candidate because they have the ability but not the personality is just as problematic as taking on someone who is ‘one of the team’ but not very good. While the ability is easier to define, you need someone who is also a good fit for the company. And if you don’t have someone who fully ticks both boxes then lean towards a cultural fit, because skills are teachable.

4. Taking too long to make a decision – When the job market became saturated in 2011 after a rise in unemployment, it become commonplace for hiring managers to take weeks to make a decision and often left potential employees in the dark. Now, not only has the market shifted back towards professionals, but the pool of top talent remains as in demand as ever. Timing is everything and when 46% of professionals lose interest in a form if they have to wait longer than a fortnight to hear back, businesses risk losing out on the best people if they hang around too long.

5. Not streamlining the process – A convoluted hiring procedure can be frustrating for all involved and again, costly. Whether it’s too many unsuitable candidates, multiple and lengthy interview rounds, and unnecessary questioning, it helps to have experts on board. By screening, shortlisting and prepping candidates, agencies can save you time and money as they invest in finding quality professionals. They are also are an excellent resource as you’ll get access to a refined bank of people and most importantly, quickly.

6. Placing too much emphasis on financial incentives – In the past, employers have treated money as the primary motivator, however due to the work/life balance movement, there has been a shift towards recognition of other factors. With a recent survey confirming that 40% of people would choose flexible working over a pay rise and the Office of National Statistics reporting that flexible working helps keep staff happy, the focus needs to be redefined.

7. Failing to consider the competition – Part of any good hiring strategy is to consider what is being offered by similar companies. Time and again, businesses fail to attract the top talent because they haven’t pitched themselves correctly whether it’s in terms of salary, reputation, benefits or flexibility. Do your research, find your USP and then begin the hunt.

8. Unrealistic and unclear expectations – Stories of professionals attending interviews only to be told the job spec is ‘unwritten’, the role is new and therefore fluid, or it will involve crossover of responsibilities, are many and varied. It is also well-known that many job descriptions are not actually a realistic portrayal of the position being hired for. Being unclear or expecting too much risks putting off great people. It also provides the possibility of hiring professionals that are either unable to achieve what’s been set or leave because they don’t wish to dilute their skills by undertaking tasks they aren’t well matched for.

9. Not having a plan B – The interview process has been completed and there’s a standout professional that is a perfect fit for the role, the team and the company. Great! But when you offer them the position, it transpires they’ve accepted a job elsewhere / agreed to stay with their current employer / changed their mind. Unfortunately this happens, but it pays to be prepared; if you don’t have a backup choice (or two) then you risk having to go through the entire process again.

10. Being unwilling to negotiate or follow-through on flexible working- Found the professional you want, but they want to negotiate what’s on offer and define their level flexibility? Don’t be dismissive or vague with your promises. Whether it’s a request to regulate their own hours or to work from home one day a week, if it matters enough for the professional to raise it during the hiring process, it’s important to them. Recognising and accommodating their needs leads to happier employees and ultimately, lower turnover.

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Juggle Jobs is a digital platform that connects businesses with high-quality vetted professionals looking to work flexibly. If you want more information about how we can help you, please email us at info@jugglejobs.co.uk.

Juggle Jobs is listed as one of Recruiter.com’s “Top 10 HR Tech Start-Ups”: Top 10 HR Tech Start-Ups (Recruiter.com)